Today’s reader question:
I’m buying new bindings and I’ve always used Burton bindings in the past. Besides flexibility, will there be any real noticeable differences if I buy bindings from a different company like Ride or K2?
Indeed there is a difference.
If you change bindings within the same brand (ie all Burton Bindings), they’ll often feel similar while flexing a little differently, but when changing to a new binding brand there is one thing I’d be prepared for.
Different companies build their binding straps differently
One of the biggest things for me when I changed between binding brands is that the upper heel straps can sometimes feel totally different.
Some companies make their straps thicker while other companies make their straps thinner. This will make the binding feel really foreign and different when you strap in and make your first turns.
Depending on how the upper binding strap is built, you’ll find that different binding brands will have their straps sitting slightly differently over the top of your upper foot, which is what causes that awkward feeling when you change to a new binding brand.
For example, I used to ride a lot of Burton bindings, but I swapped to K2 bindings which had a thicker upper strap. This means when I bent my foot to make a toeside turn it would engage my snowboard slightly earlier and throw off my muscle memory.
This isn’t a bad thing, it just takes some time to adjust to the new feel of each turn, so make sure you give yourself some time to cruise on easy green/blue runs and get used to your new bindings.
Besides this, there’s a bunch of newer technology hitting the slopes each year so there’s always bound to be bindings that feel a little foreign when you try them out (as long as the new tech isn’t a gimmick).
But that’s just more reason to always give yourself time to adjust to a new pair of bindings.
One other thing…
You may not be the same size. Different binding brands fit boots differently, so don’t just assume you’ll be the same size binding if you swap to a different company.
There’s always online sizing charts on any binding company’s website, but I still highly recommend bringing your boots with you any time you buy new bindings.
This way you can make sure you get the size right in the shop (especially useful if you might be one of those sizes in between medium and large).
Hope that answers your question.